Flying with Ashtyn . . .

So, we've just returned home from a whirlwind vacation visiting family. Where do I begin? Remember how I feel about traveling alone with children who are supposed to sit in your lap for hours at a time? Right. Impossible. Still, it occurred to us that Ash turns 2 on the 15th--meaning she no longer flies for free. So it was quickly decided that we needed to travel before then. I planned a super-fast trip to VA and TX. Ash and I left last Sunday--and flew for four hours to Greensboro. All I can say is that before we'd even taken off, Ashtyn had emptied her tin of cheese puffs all over the floor.

Anyway, we survived that flight and then our next one was delayed. Not cool. We were in Newark with a million other people whose flights were delayed, in a small area that didn't have enough air conditiong blowing. It was so full that every chair was taken and people were all over the floor. Ashtyn was frustrated and making me crazy within about five minutes. I'm not kidding. Imagine yourself carrying around a 2 year old who wants to run around in a sea of people. Now imagine that same 2 year old, calling out "Help me!" to the surrounding people. Yes, that was my experience.

Sara picked us up late that night. It was so great to see her. We went back to Roanoke and stayed the night at her apartment. Then we went to Lynchburg the next day and stopped at Givens Little Dickens--my favorite bookstore ever. I got to see the family--which is always great no matter how chaotic. Seriously, the Brumble family together is a wonderful thing. :) And even more seriously, Ash = chaos, so there was plenty. Still, everybody loved seeing my little munchkin. Monday Laura and I stayed the night with Sara. We also went to see Letters to Juliet, which I loved. That was a super fun night, but Laura informed us the next day that she'd slept about ten minutes due to the fact that she had to sleep between Sara and me, and she said it was about 300 degrees.

Well, Tuesday I was able to see my old roommate Laurie, and then have dinner with my wonderful English professor Mrs. Nutter at this little place in downtown Lynchburg called the Dish. Wednesday we went back up to Sara's in Roanoke for a little Wii time. Excellent. Thursday we ran into a little situation of there being a bad storm in Lynchburg and a huge, I do mean huge, tree laying on its side in front of my parents' apartment. Along with a fallen telephone pole. So there was no electricity to be had. We ended up staying at a hotel in town for the night. I packed up everything at the apartment, we went to the hotel, and I realized I'd left everything I needed back at the apartment. Of course. So Laura and I had to make another trip back.

Friday, I had a bit of a nervous breakdown with another flight with Ashtyn in my immediate future. Really. It was not pretty. Lots of crying. Once we got to the airport and made it onto the flight, I was breathing easier. For about five minutes. Then our plane took off and I smelled something awful. It took me a second to realize it was my child. Yes, we had a diaper situation. You might be aware of the fact that you can't just get up on a plane and go to the bathroom anymore. We had to ascend, then fly for a while--meanwhile, my outlook on life is bleak at this point. If I can smell this--how shall we say it? Um, powerful odor?--I know everyone else can. The Fasten Seatbelt sign WON'T go off. The flight attendant guy is halfway through serving drinks and we're still not supposed to get up.

When he makes it to my seat, I ask if it's possible to get up and go to the bathroom now. Obviously, he's inhaled since he came near us, so he jerks back that big cart and lets us go. We came back, Ash is happier and so is everyone else. We made it to Houston and Stacey picked us up. My aunt Stacey is one of the sweetest people you could ever meet. She's just an extra-special person. She and my uncle Dale have a gorgeous pool in their backyard. Seriously, flowing fountain, rocks, flowers--the works.

So we want to go swimming on Saturday. However, I forgot my swimsuit and Stacey, adorable person that she is, has recently found an old one of mine from high school. Actually, high school is pushing it. I'm thinking middle school. She is so sweet and says it will still fit me. I look at it--it's a two piece and I'm asking myself, Did I ever fit into that? Really? The top looks like a shoestring. It wasn't happening. Stacey found another one for me that did work, so we spent the afternoon in the pool. Very fun. By now, Jeff had flown into Houston and was with us. That night Stacey made her signature chocolate pies. Delicious.

Sunday afternoon we picked up a rental car and drove to Harlingen to see my Grandma Dori. Very quick but super fun trip. My grandma has owned a restaurant for forever and just now sold it this summer. So anyway, she and I spent Monday afternoon cooking together in the kitchen--well, it was more like her teaching me to cook. It was just so much fun. We made Chicken a la King. It was so good. I feel like there's something else I meant to say about this trip but I can't remember right now. I'll tell you later. Anyway, we drove back to Houston on Tuesday and flew back to Denver. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law and nephew were already in town waiting for us. They're here for a short visit before my nephew starts school next week. So--that's my whirlwind life. Or a few days of it anyway. Stay tuned.

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